Little Miracles

I woke up yesterday and an image popped into my head: a choir sining in a church.

The church we go to is little, and it is humble. There is plenty of light, and it has a clean, bright smell. For some reason, I had the urge to go to a cathedral.

Not thinking too much about it, I put on Bing Crosby and set to wrapping presents. All the kids will be coming for Christmas this year, and there is plenty to do. Also, Gerry’s car is in the shop so this morning, I drove him to work. We decided to make a morning of it and went to the diner for some breakfast. I can’t remember the last time we did that!

It was such a pleasure sitting in that little booth together, eating our eggs and hash browns. I could tell he was a little bit preoccupied, and he told me about some rumors he heard that layoffs might be around the corner. We held hands across the table. I gave the back of his hand a kiss.

I know we’ll be fine even if he does lose this job. We’ve been planning for that for many years now. But it will be interesting to see how he chooses to use his time. He had hobbies, of course, but 40  hours a week is a lot to replace! It gave me some ideas of Christmas presents for him. I know he always loved architecture; after breakfast, I picked him up a book on it.

The young man who sold it to me got very excited. “This is the best book!” he said. “It’s what inspired ME to study architecture!”
“What a lovely coincidence,” I said. Then I asked him if he might be interested in tutoring someone in the subject.

“Sure,” he said. “A high schooler.”
“Well,” I said, “its for my husband.”

He gave me his number, and I’m going to arrange a lesson for Gerry in blueprint making.

I was about to drive back to pick up Gerry from work when he called me on my cell phone.

“Honey, I’m not at the office. Can you pick me up at 82 S Bend Plaza?”

I went to pick him up from what looked like a government building, but I was a few minutes early. I noticed people walking by with instrument cases, so I parked my car and followed them.

Just around the corner was a big, beautiful church! One I never knew existed. I went inside and saw that the musicians were setting up for rehearsal.

Gerry sent me a message asking where I was. I asked him to come in to the church.

He found me and sat down next to me and we spent the next hour watching an orchestra and choir rehearse for the Christmas ceremony. The music was beautiful, and went to the top of the high ceilings. My wish upon waking came true.

“Laur,” he whispered. “They’ve done it. It’s over.”
I squeezed his hand. We listened to the music. I knew we would be fine.

The Covenant of the Ark

Last year, we experienced a terrible storm. I remember the waking up that morning with a song in my heart. It was a gorgeous day. I had many things on my to-do list, but all were pleasant. First thing, I got up, opened the windows and smelled the air. It was chilly, but fine. Then I put on water for tea, watered my house plants and went over some papers. Gerry was staying at our son’s house in Austin to help look after the grandkids while Maureen was as a medical conference, and I stayed home so I wouldn’t miss the women’s group.

That group, by the way, has been such a blessing! I can’t tell you how many conversations we had about a reading group before it actually happened. We’ve been meeting Wednesday mornings at 10 am for months now, but 5 months ago it was still very new and I was a founding member.

So there I was, making eggs for one. I left to do my errands. First, I went see our lawyer about a property we’ve invested in. Then stopped by the church to drop off some office supplies they needed that Gerry brought home and had been sitting around the house.

That was when it started to rain. At first, it was a soft drizzle. I was chit-chatting in the office when we heard the first hail on the window.

I gasped! I’d left MY windows wide open! And all the lawn furniture was out.

I drove home carefully on the slick roads, and when I got home, brought all the cushions into the garage. Then I shut all the windows and sank into a chair. I closed my eyes and listened. It was soothing and beautiful. I flipped through one of my favorite books, Journal of Solitude (trust me, its a precious volume). It inspired me to write a poem:

Two by little by little by two

You and God, God and You

Drought to Dew

and dew to

deluge.

The window, high. The light,

above. The walls of the

ark are sealed.

Safe, cozy

holy, holy

covenant

revealed.

I have always loved being in the rain! It was delightful to me when we were newly weds and Ger and I were both home when it stormed. It felt like confirmation of our bond, like the universe was conspiring that our union was contained and held in angels’ hands; nothing coming in, nothing coming out.

Now, alone in the rain, I experience something different. I feel that same coziness, but with my Higher Self and Higher Power.

_____________________________________________________________

The rain came harder. Then the hail started up again. It was thunderous. I thought, what must it have been like for Noah’s wife? Once they were in the Ark, and the waves were crashing against the sides, there was no going back. It must have been a relief to know that however uncertain things are on the inside of the ark, they are supportive of human life! The violence maybe happening all around, but there is shelter. There is blessing.

I was reminded of all of this because today we are FINALLY having our roof repaired.

I am about to bring out some cookies to the crew, who have been hard at work all morning restoring our home. It already looks good as new. If you need a great roofing company, I recommend them wholeheartedly if you life in San Antonio. They’re called Done Right, and my nephew does their bookkeeping so I got a good deal. I love supporting businesses of people of Faith.

I will conclude by saying  that I am so grateful for the reminder that the Ark may be be battered, but our Faith stays alive. Even if the structure is tested and worn, it can be repaired. I know some people are not as fortunate and storms tear apart their homes. I know that people die. I also know that God said to build the window up high, because we have to keep our eyes on his light and not on the destruction around us. That is how we go on and continue to provide sanctuary for the spirit in ourselves and in our neighbors.

Amen.

 

The Second Adam

It is December, and everywhere you go, Christmas pours forth. I feel so blessed to have ears to hear the carols and eyes to see the lights. I feel so blessed to have a mouth to taste the cookies my kind neighbor left on my doorstep. I feel blessed to feel my fuzzy slippers on my feet and my fuzzy Santa hat on my forehead as I smell the Christmas blend waft out of my diffuser (douglass and white fir, cinnamon bark, clove, and wild orange… Ahhh) .

As I take stock of the blessing of these sensual pleasures, my joy suddenly drops. Why? Because I remember the TRUE source of joy. The REAL reason this time of year is special, and would be special been if I had no eyes to see or ears to hear, or any other senses.

It is special because we remember, as a global community, out loud in ofter, that Christ was born.

Christ was born! Christ was born! Christ was born! Sing it with me! It feels so good to remember this.

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Two thousand and sixteen years ago, a young, unmarried woman gives birth to a child. When she learned that, despite being a virgin, she would be pregnant, she responded to the Angel Gabriel saying,

here i am

servant of the lord

let it be, with me,

according to your word.

They arrived in Bethlehem but couldn’t find a place to stay. Mary gave birth in a barn and the baby Jesus, who’s name means “he who will save his people from their sins,” was placed in a manger.

A manger! A manger is that vessel out which wild animals are fed and receive sustenance.

What more beautiful image for our Messiah could there be than that?

We,

the masses,

with our wild hearts

& our hungry stomachs…

Receive from the Holy Spirit

the one thing which could ever

truly nourish us. On December 25th,

we received the gift of of God’s only son.

*

And we received this beautiful, human-embodied soul long before we perfected ourselves. Despite the constant barrage of violence you see in mainstream media, the fact is that people are getting better. Historically, violence and warfare are at an all-time low. Human rights, though still a MAJOR work in progress, are progressing.

A great teacher of mine, Paula Langton, once shared this image:

“We progress as a spiral,” she said. She twirled her finger in the air as if tracing a slinky in an upward-slanting diagonal line. “We go around and around, but each low is a little higher than the last. And each high is a little higher than the last, too.”

This description of human progress fills me with hope. We earthlings are often very slow to learn the lessons that matter most, but we are learning. Though there may be dips, the trend is towards ever-increasing equality, ever-increasing compassion and ever-increasing faith.

We can drink from the infinite fountain of Life that God offers us whenever we remember Him. We can nourish ourselves with the life of Christ, who was born in the humblest of places. Who was nothing and nobody through his childhood and adolescence, and even into adulthood. Who took his time learning about life on earth and acquiring wisdom. Who was unafraid to share his light. Who accepted all who genuinely wanted healing and love. Who looked upon those who crucified him with tears of compassion. Who showed us that even death is an illusion, and that with God as Our Father, we are Eternally Alive in Light.

The first Adam fell because he felt fear. He did not have complete trust in God. He did not know his true nature.

The second Adam, Jesus, arose, because we on Earth still did not have Faith, despite feeling our bodies pulse with life! Despite knowing deep down that we come from something holy. We could not believe until God gave us back our faith, and He continues to do so every moment we breathe. Every moment we breathe we can remember the Man, the Son of God, who showed us the Truth and invited us to join him in his Father’s Kingdom.

I will close with this line from John 14:2:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
It brings tears to my eyes.
Whenever you feel anxious or lonely,
Whenever you feel the cold shadow hand of fear
Wrap its senseless fingers around your throat,
picture Jesus, the man, the Son of God, with his sparkling eyes and gentle smile, making a bed for you. Picture him leaning over the mattress and smoothing out a clean, white sheet. Imagine stepping through the doorway and sighing out all the worries you have ever had. Imagine him looking over his shoulder and smiling at you. You hear his words in your mind, though his face is serene and still:
“Thank you for coming.
You are home now.”
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